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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

10/29/22 : Protect the Standard

Before the 2022 season began Phillies baseball operations and player development adopted an organizational charter outlining four areas of focus - respect, preparation, how to play and how to compete.   The underlying expectancy being that “we are first and foremost, a team” and that an overall Standard was expected and to be protected.

“A team is powerful because it is united through it’s shared goal, mission and focus.  Our goal is winning a World Series and to do this we must have accountability and share a standard.”

By reaching the World Series this season’s goal is within reach and the standard has become visualized in the brand of baseball the club is showcasing on the field.  It’s brought them to the pinnacle spotlight of the sport and is embolic of an all encompassing effort that is permeated in team success with each person holding one another accountable to protect it.

It’s an aura, “the standard has no name and is bigger than any of us.”    While individual efforts are at the forefront, the home runs, pitching performances, defensive gems, etc. are made possible by honoring the game and the approach to playing it.

Here’s an observer’s look at the standards that the Phillies established and continue to be chartered with :

Respect :

“Respect the club, the game, the media ,the fans and each other.”

My perspective - I’ve always felt as if the organization has treated me well  - folks are alway cordial and appreciative that we take the time to come watch and write about them whether it be at the complex or stadiums.  My interactions with both the business side and baseball operations leadership has also always been handled in that manner.  To me it’s something that was established early on as an organizational platform by the leadership of Bill Giles and David Montgomery and has continued as a standard.

“While baseball has it’s individual moments, understand that a team wins and loses and that requires depending on and knowing one another.   We take the time to learn each other’s names, work to speak each other’s languages and understand backgrounds.  Having each other’s back is both on and off the field - accept accountability by leaving things better than we found them - respect is shown in many ways”.

My perspective  - The expectancy is to prepare every day to not only work but put in the effort and respect where your feet are at the time.  Having energy to learn, improve and compete is more than just baseball itself - it’s acknowledging and including the people around you, it’s representing the Phillies in the right way.

I see it in the interaction that occurs at the complex amongst the people there and also watching the big club from afar, while there always will be cliques in any large group it’s evident that the big club’s players, coaches, staff and leadership has bought into each other and gets along because they have recognized each other as individuals with a common goal and are working towards it.  That’s spilled over to the fan base - winning is a standard in itself and along with it comes a broader base of respect - we are seeing it happen before our eyes and feeling it within our hearts.

Preparation :

“Challenge yourself to find and know your “Why” - if at any time you don’t know, take ownership and ask.”

My perspective - The expectancy is a commitment to make both yourself and others better - the standard being a willingness to embrace the responsibility to interact with each other about the present and what the future needs to be and then how to get there to support the club in achieving the ultimate goal, winning the World Series.

“Recognize that potential is unknown - none of us knows what someone else is capable of - attempting to predict potential and judge it is a waste of time.  Development is a job to make yourself better and help others to get better every day - push yourself to be better than you ever knew you could be.”

My perspective - to have a successful team requires individual’s within it to have an understanding of not only themselves but others and then  to show up and show out without fear of failure.  It also means that interaction and open feedback is freely given - trust is vital and communications can be had at all levels without fear of reprisal.  Being prepared with knowledge and having a strong work ethic is is a given requirement and those who don’t show up to do so make what may have been hard decisions easier to make.  It’s a tough thing to accomplish overall but shines thru when the reflection of the understanding is found in the mirror of team success. We are seeing it with the big club now in how they are prepared to perform and then delivering on it.

How we Play :

“We must be fully committed to find greatness - coaches and staff own the training environment- both coaches and players must trust themselves - things will not always be done right but learning from mistakes is highly valuable - full commitment means at times mistakes will be made.”

My perspective : The expectancy is an attention to doing the little things to build a foundation - to take pride in how you train and play - to know the fundamentals by a mastery of the “boring things” - to work and not worry.  Baseball IQ is a huge element of the game and respecting and committing to it is becoming a difference maker.

“The goal is not to just make the big leagues but to be a difference maker there.  That goes beyond how you play - it’s how you are as a teammate, through leadership, hard work and how hard you compete.  Be ready to play each and every game time.”

My perspective :   If you are unable to understand and live the details of any endeavor it shows when you attempt to do so.  Lack of commitment takes away the opportunities for success - time and again that’s been proven.  Trust and knowledge of what you are doing are the platforms for ability - without them ability is a shell of what it would be.   By getting to the World Series the Phillies have captured this - it’s personified in how they are playing the game.

How we Compete :

“Your future in baseball is uncertain - when you are thinking about the past you spend the currency of time.  Focusing on the past guarantees you will repeat it.  Compete in the present - focus and know your intent.”

My perspective : The expectancy is to know the goal and maintain focus on it - the game is about winning and losing and how you get there matters.  The lack of commitment is an insult.  Being willing to do the extra things is a standard and are the moments that measurements are made from. No one is exemplifying this more than Jean Segura - his desire to win in the present is off the charts - for that matter the entire team’s is.

“We must have an atmosphere where there can be an absence of fear - lack of fear of making mistakes allows us to grow, take chances and get better.  If what you have tried doesn’t work - Own it, learn from it, get better and move on - be the best at finding your edge.”

My perspective : You can’t dwell on the past nor be afraid to try new ways if current ones aren’t making progress.  Owning your efforts and learning from them facilitates potential to succeed -  can’t fear failure else you are likely destined to do so.  Trusting yourself and having confidence in your team positions the club to reach it’s goal with you as part of it.  This has been evident time and again this post season with how the skipper manages and how players have performed - it’s really cool to see.

All season long the messaging remained consistent - “Protect the Standard”  embodied the spirit of “winning and losing as a team.”   That spirit has shined thru this post season at the big league level for the Phillies with a National League Championship and now with the opportunity to win the World Series.

It didn't happen overnight and is a continual progression but the platform had long been established - just wanted to share that it was planned and communicated and now we see it’s fruition 🤓.  That’s good stuff indeed as the club pursues bringing Mr. Middelton’s trophy back home.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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